L’Oréal Group’s Technology Incubator is getting into the world of period-tracking apps.
On Wednesday, the company announced a partnership with Clue, one of the world’s largest period-tracking apps by global rankings. With the new deal, L’Oréal plans to utilize data from the app to co-create in-app skin-care advice content related to hormones. The partnership reflects the growing connection between the worlds of wellness and beauty, and comes as period-tracking apps remain some of the most popular health-related apps used by women with data that is valued by marketers.
“Hormones and skin are [things] that we think people don’t have enough information about yet,” said Guive Balooch, head of L’Oréal’s Technology Incubator. The brand will offer skin-care surveys on the app, and then use that data to work with Clue on skin-care articles that will be available in the app and on Clue’s website.
“We really want to focus more on providing more personalized information and giving people an understanding of how their skin is evolving and changing, and then alluding to some potential routines and [providing] understanding [of] how they can use their current beauty products at home,” said Balooch.
Skin changes are among the most-tracked categories in the app, according to Clue’s co-CEO Audrey Tsang.
L’Oréal will contribute personalized advice on skin-care routines to each user, based on what week they are at in their cycle, using “scientific information about how skin evolves during a hormonal cycle,” said Balooch. Advice will cover common hormone-related skin concerns including acne, dryness, dermatitis and UV susceptibility. L’Oréal’s Active Cosmetics division will be involved with creating the content, bringing in advice from dermatologists, endocrinologists and gynecologists. The link between skin concerns and hormones has been on the rise in beauty in the past two years with the launch of skin-care startups focused on hormones. That includes LaMaria, which is focused on skin care for menopausal hormone changes and period-care brand Blume, which launched skin care for acne.
“There is a lot of ability to create innovation among the intersections between wellness and beauty,” said Balooch. “Tackling it is more about picking areas where we think there’s a hole [in the market]. When it comes to beauty information, hormones are a perfect example of that.”
Period-tracking apps have become widely used among women in the U.S. in recent years. Clue currently has 12 million users across 190 different countries. The Flo period tracker app, which has over 100 million users, is currently the No. 2 app in the entire health and fitness category on App Annie as of August 3, second only to New York’s new Excelsior app for vaccination confirmation.
All data collected via the Clue app will be anonymized, said Balooch. Other period-tracking apps on the market have faced questions about their data collection. In January of this year, Flo settled with the Federal Trade Commission after receiving a complaint that it was not being upfront about its sharing of health data with third-party firms. In 2019, The Washington Post reported that period-tracking app Ovia was being used as a monitoring tool by employers to gather data on employee pregnancies.
According to Balooch, partner apps are a big part of the Technology Incubator’s strategy.
“Probably more than half of what we do is with external partners,” he said. “We go outside and we see if there are world leaders in areas that we’re not necessarily world leaders in, and we bring our beauty expertise and our skin health expertise to the table.”